Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun has been detained in China by local authorities, the Australian government has confirmed. Australia’s foreign affairs department received confirmation on Wednesday that the novelist and influential online commentator had been detained. “The department is seeking to clarify the nature of this detention and to obtain consular access to him, in accordance with the bilateral consular agreement, as a matter of priority,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
The confirmation comes as the Australian defence minister, Christopher Pyne, begins a trip to Beijing on Thursday. Yang is a former Chinese diplomat, a novelist and blogger who obtained a PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney, and later became an Australian citizen.